Some readers have been kind enough to express their appreciation of the sense of England and its landscape and maybe its traditions which have been evoked here and there in my posts. Indeed I’ve learned more about my own feelings as I have written them.
Although it spoils the mood of this sequence I think that, for the record, I should quote here, slightly edited, some feelings which are relevant to the current Olympic celebrations in our country. I first wrote about them under my real name on a Facebook thread today:
‘Two elderly, frail men were in their nightwear, outside a major hospital near me this week, almost furtively smoking, as they sat in wheelchairs close to the litter bins… It was warm and sunny thank goodness. Is there no-one in the NHS who will speak up for such people and point out that with modern air conditioning, there would be no harm to anyone if separate smoking rooms were provided indoors? Thank goodness there was no snow on the ground. The sight made me very angry, and not for the first time.
‘Awareness of the basic inhumanity of the treatment of these two old men and many others, in all sorts of situations where a modicum of humanity would make a such a difference to their lives, soured my approach to the Olympic festivities. I did not watch them but I read that there was a celebration of our national traditions and landscape at the start – cricket and so on, which I cherish.
‘But I think that unless we truly live in and value our traditions now, especially those to do with “live and let live” and defence of freedom, we will develop into mere images on the lovely rustic cover design of a chocolate box the contents of which are, of course, “sugar free”… But there is hope. Look out for the blogs written by Dick Puddlecote, Churchmouse Campanologist, Patsy Nurse, on Tea and Cigarettes, and other free spirits.’
Footnote: the headline is a quote from the song: ‘There’ll Always be an England.’